City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
I’m a huge fan of books that don’t let me go until I’ve reached the last page. Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones, the first in her Mortal Instruments series, is that kind of book. Ostensibly written for young adults, this is a novel that adults will enjoy just as much as teenagers, for all that the protagonist and her friends are high-school aged.
Clary and her friend Simon — not boyfriend, much as he’d like to claim that title — visit the Pandemonium Club in Manhattan, a borough away from their homes in Brooklyn. A cute boy with blue hair and bright green eyes catches Clary’s eye, and she watches him until a beautiful girl in a long white dress beckons him into a room marked “No Admittance.” She watches long enough to see two other boys following them, one of whom pulls a knife just before entering the room. Startled and scared, Clary se... Read More
Cassandra ClareCassandra Clare writes young adult urban fantasy. She got her start writing Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings fan fiction as Cassandra Claire. Cassandra Clare’s website. The Mortal Instruments Trilogy website.
The Mortal Instruments — (2007-2012) Young adult. Publisher: Their hidden world is about to be revealed… When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Clary knows she should call the police, but it’s hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary. Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. Within twenty-four hours, Clary’s mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
When I finished City of Fallen Angels I was angry; not with Cassandra Clare, who created the Mortal Instruments series, but with the evil-doers who once again have come between Clary and her Shadowhunter boyfriend, Jace.
At the end of City of Glass, the Shadowhunters and the downworlders — vampires, faerie, and werewolves — banded together to stand against Clary’s arrogant and megalomaniacal Shadowhunter father Valentine in a cataclysmic battle. Clary used her newly discovered talent for the magical runes called Marks to defeat her father and bring Jace back from death. Her once-human friend Simon, who became a vampire while trying to help her, was safe, and Shadowhunters and downworlders were drawing up an Accord so that they could live together in peace and equality.
It seems that the war is not over... Read More
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series started out as a trilogy, and should have stayed there. This fifth book in the series has devolved into nothing more but one incident of teenage groping and/or angst after another.
City of Lost Souls is very disappointing.
[Editor's note: Terry, a perfectionist, didn't want to post this short opinion as a review, but we thought you'd want to know, so we posted it anyway.] Read More
The Infernal Devices — (2010-2012) Young adult. This series is a prequel to The Mortal Instruments. Publisher: Magic is dangerous — but love is more dangerous still. When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos. Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own. Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by — and torn between — two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length… everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world… and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
And then comes the final test, the infallible touchstone of the seventh-rate: Ichor. It oozes out of severed tentacles, it beslimes tessellated pavements, bespatters bejeweled courtiers, and bores the bejesus out of everybody.
~Ursula K. Le Guin, From Elfland to Poughkeepsie
Cassandra Clare stumbles straight out of the gate in Clockwork Angel. In the opening sentence... “ichor,” one of Ursula K. Le Guin’s perfect tests for bad fantasy. The opening sentence!
Can Clare recover? Yes, she c... Read More
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
I’m giving Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare three stars, because it ably fulfills its function as the second book in the INFERNAL DEVICES series, but I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I did Clockwork Angel. The writing is fine and the story moves well, but somehow our heroic characters just aren’t shown at their best in this volume.
After the debacle at the end of Clockwork Angel, Benedict Lightwood, patriarch of another Shadowhunter family, challenges Charlotte Branwell for control of the London Institute. His reasons are mostly couched in the language of sexism, but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Charlotte’s husband Henry is a distracted genius who has to be reminded to eat; the Shadowhunters who live in the Institute are underage and one of them, Wil... Read More
Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
Back in 2007, Holly Black and Justine Larabalestier got in an argument about which fiction creature was superior — zombies or unicorns. Spurred on by that debate, they each recruited some of their author friends to write short tales in which they present the storytelling possibilities of the two mythic beasts. With header notes for each story in which they discuss the historical background for the different takes on the creatures, HollyBlack heads up Team Unicorn, and Justine Larbalestier heads up Team Zombie.
Writing for Team Unicorn, we have Kathleen Duey, Read More
Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant (eds.)
Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories is a new young adult collection edited by veteran anthologists Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant. Featuring twelve conventional short stories and two graphic entries, Steampunk! showcases a wide variety of ideas and styles that fall under the steampunk umbrella. The collection is entertaining and is lent extra freshness by the variety of settings explored by the authors: none of the stories are set in Victorian London.
The book begins with “Some Fortunate Future Day” by Cassandra Clare. This is a creepy little story about a rather warped young girl who desires love but knows very little about it. Th... Read More
Bane Chronicles — (2013) Publisher: Fans of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices know that Magnus Bane is banned from Peru—and now they can find out why. One of ten adventures in The Bane Chronicles. There are good reasons Peru is off-limits to Magnus Bane. Follow Magnus’s Peruvian escapades as he drags his fellow warlocks Ragnor Fell and Catarina Loss into trouble, learns several instruments (which he plays shockingly), dances (which he does shockingly), and disgraces his host nation by doing something unspeakable to the Nazca Lines. This standalone e-only short story illuminates the life of the enigmatic Magnus Bane, whose alluring personality populates the pages of the #1 New York Times bestselling series The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. This story in The Bane Chronicles, What Really Happened in Peru, is written by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan.